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Old March 16 2008, 12:22 AM   #91
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Sadly I have to say that I do think that Leone's scrutiny is overdue. However this Hargraves (sp?) characters seems like a mean b. to me.

She might not try to instigate a mutiny but I'm sure she can expect some serious resistance once she tries to break up our close-knit Farragut heroes.

Also good job on the 'Torpedoes' conclusion. Lookin forward to see how this develops.
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Old March 16 2008, 10:25 AM   #92
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

I just wanted to mention that a PDF of Damn the Torpedoes! 1-3 is now available at Lulu.com for free downloading. If you want to buy a print copy, you can do so there, as well. It's at cost (meaning my profit is ZERO), so you only pay for the printing and the shipping. $6.41 for the book itself, plus $3 for shipping.



PS: Some of you are in the acknowledgments.
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Old March 16 2008, 10:29 AM   #93
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

CeJay wrote: View Post
Sadly I have to say that I do think that Leone's scrutiny is overdue. However this Hargraves (sp?) characters seems like a mean b. to me.

She might not try to instigate a mutiny but I'm sure she can expect some serious resistance once she tries to break up our close-knit Farragut heroes.
Hargreaves has a history with Leone, which you'll find out in Milk Run. There's a reason why she's there and furthermore, why she's intent on breaking Leone. It's not simply because she bent regulations.

CeJay wrote: View Post
Also good job on the 'Torpedoes' conclusion. Lookin forward to see how this develops.
You have no idea how much it pleases me to hear you say that. I was so worried about making the ending contrived. I was running out of word count there (I'm limiting each episode to 10,000 words: 45 minutes episode-length in screenwriting terms), so as I was coming up on 9k, I realized I had more content than word count, so I had to do a quick switch. Besides, in the end, I made them work hard for the solution... dragging it out solved nothing.

-- ZC
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Old March 17 2008, 11:30 AM   #94
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

And now, Act I of "Milk Run."

-------------------------------------

Lieutenant Wilson Nieves grinned. "Thirty-five."

"Crap, I only had twenty," said Lieutenant (jg) Gregory Aspinall in disgust.

"Forty-two," said Lieutenant Petra Bartlet gleefully.

"Forty-seven," added Doctor Sovera.

"Sixty-one," Lieutenant Commander Ariel Elannis said proudly. "Pay up."

Greg shook his head. "What about the captain?"

Ariel frowned. "The captain doesn't count."

"I'm sure she'll think differently," replied Sovera. "After all, this is quite a considerable pool you've generated."

Wilson agreed with a nod.

Ariel considered this, then replied with a pout on her lips. "Fine, but if she trumps twenty-six, then I'm going to scream foul."

"She's going to trump sixty, guaranteed. She has all ours plus hers."

"That's why I say she doesn't count."

The doors to the observation lounge parted to admit Captain Krystine Leone, who took her customary seat on the side of the table, rather than at the head of it. "Good morning, everyone. We're all set for arrival, I trust?"

With the exception of Sovera, all the other officers fixed a pointed glare at Ariel.

Leone picked up on it instantly, choosing to join them in their scrutiny of her acting executive officer. "Ariel? Something going
on?"

Ariel scratched at her neck, looking away from the senior staff and muttering, "Not really."

"Commander," said Wilson sharply.

"All right," she hissed at him quickly. To Leone, she explained, "We've formed a little pool to find out how many questions were transmitted by Starfleet Intelligence upon each of our mission reports."

A slow smile spread on the captain's lips as Ariel spoke. Holding her grin, Leone asked, "Who won?"

"Right now, Ariel has the lead," offered Wilson helpfully. "However, we were waiting on your arrival to determine if she is the winner or not."

"Sovera, I can't believe that you've consented to gamble."

The doctor inclined her head. "I found the commander's proposition to be logical. Gambling is not without its merit."

Greg snorted.

Everyone turned to look at him.

"What?" he asked with a shrug. "I just find it funny to hear that coming from a Vulcan."

"If you got Sovera to gamble, it must be something worth gambling for," noted Leone. "What's the prize?"

The officers all looked at one another, as though they shared an unspoken conversation. With a pointed glare from Wilson, Ariel relented, "The prize isn't money, per se... and I want to note that I don't condone slavery, but the prize was a set number of hours of work in winner's respective department."

As the Federation didn't pay Starfleet officers, Leone often found herself fascinated by the fact that a modest economy did emerge on starships. In this case, it seems time was the commodity of choice. "I see," said the captain. "In that case, I believe that I'm the winner, and you're all the losers. Since my department is this ship, you're all to give me those hours in the course of your duties."

Wilson let out a held breath. "Oh, thank God! I didn't want to have to be at Ariel's beck and call for eight hours."

"Indeed," said Sovera with a nod. "Although I would have greatly benefitted from assistance in my laboratory, for certain."

Greg's face contorted into an expression of distaste. "No offense, Doctor, but I'm glad you didn't win."

"I'm sorry to spoil your fun," replied Leone, "but we're docking at Starbase 310 in a few moments, and I wanted to get you all in the same room to discuss a few things before we take on the rest of our crew."

The jovial atmosphere within the observation lounge vanished as the captain brought some official business to the table.

"First, I'm making a change to the senior staff. I've already sent word by subspace to Lieutenant Hunter that his services will no longer be required," said Leone as she settled her gaze upon their acting security chief. "Ariel's made it clear that I would be blind not to realize what an asset you were to us this last week, Wilson. If you want it, the job is yours."

Wilson nodded as soon as she stopped speaking. "Absolutely, sir. Thank you!"

"No, Wilson... thank you. You might not have been my first choice, but you are the correct one."

Greg placed a hand on Wilson's back as he spoke with conviction, "I won't let you down, sir."

Leone smiled. "I know you won't. Your transfer is made permanent, effective immediately."

"Congratulations, Willie," Ariel said with a wink.

Wilson chuckled. "Thank you, Commander."

"Now that the good news is out of the way, here's some not-so-good news," said the captain. "As you're aware, the means of our return may have skirted a few violations of Starfleet regulations. Namely, the Prime Directive. As all of our official after-action reports required so many additional queries by Starfleet Intelligence, I have been informed that the Office of the Inspector General of Starfleet has directed one of its officers to come aboard as soon as we dock."

Ariel narrowed her eyes at the news. "You can count on us to protect you, sir."

"No, that's not what I'm asking, Ariel. I want to make it clear to all of you that you are ordered to cooperate with the investigating officer completely," she said quietly. "If I find out that you lied to protect me, or because you won't stand by and let them tear me down... then you'll find yourself with a transfer order off my ship. And that'll be the last time we see each other."

Everyone except Sovera looked on in shock at the ultimatum.

Leone continued, "If there are charges to bring against this crew, it needs to be clear that I will answer for them. As captain, I am alone responsible."

"We followed your orders, Captain," said Greg as his hand came to lay flat against the table, almost reaching out for her. "You're not alone."

The captain smiled softly at him. "Thank you, Greg, but the only thing I want to hear from you is acknowledgment of my order." She turned to look at everyone. "From everyone at this table, in fact."

One by one, each officer complied with the order, albeit reluctantly.

Except Ariel. She sat within the chair, staring out at the stars rather than look at her friend.

"Ariel?" prompted Leone.

Ariel still said nothing. Her gaze never left the viewports.

"Ariel," Leone tried again in a sterner tone.

"Krys..." replied Ariel with a shake of her head.

The captain frowned. "Commander Elannis, I require you to acknowledge my order."

Ariel looked as though she'd be slapped by Leone's stern tone. "Captain," she said finally, "I cannot, in good conscience, obey your order."

Leone sighed, defeated. Silence hung within the lounge for long moments as the assembled senior staff traded looks of awkwardness with one another. The captain rose from her seat, seeing the expression of sincerity upon Ariel's face, and did not try to press her order any further. Instead, she left the room with a single word.

"Dismissed."

---- SCENE CHANGE ----

"What're you working on?" asked Ensign Yvonne Colby, as she tried to read over the shoulder of Ensign Iris Wu. Yvonne finished her shift within the ship's armory, cataloguing the arsenal of weapons for the now-permanent chief of security, Lieutenant Nieves. Farragut docked with Starbase 310 an hour ago, and already new faces began to show up within the ship's lounge within the forward section of deck ten.

Iris looked up from her table with a grin. "Post-Academy qualifications. I've already completed the first assignment."

Yvonne wrinkled her nose as she took the seat to the left of her. "Qualifications? You know, when we graduated from Starfleet Academy, there was this slim hope that they would stop assigning me homework."

"You can take up to two years to finish them."

"And then what happens if you don't? You just remain an ensign forever?"

"No, they take away your commission," said Iris with a smirk.

"No way!"

"Oh, yes. It's in the handbook. Didn't you read it?"

Yvonne turned away from Iris, to hide her blush. "I was a little busy trying to figure out how to damage a ship made out of crystal."

"I was there. I found time."

"Good for you."

"All I'm saying is, if you don't pass all twelve of them within two years, you'll be calling me 'sir' for the rest of your career," Iris said, entering in her responses on the padd. "If you pass them within six months, you earn your promotion automatically."

Yvonne tsked. "I'd better get on the ball, huh?"

"Good morning, ladies," said engineering Ensign Tommy O'Day as she strode confidently toward them from the entrance. "I see we're finally filling in the ranks around here, eh?"

Yvonne rolled her eyes, but Iris gave the young man a wide smile. The latter gestured toward one of the two open chairs surrounding the table. "Would you care to join us, Tommy?"

"Don't mind if I do."

"And how are things down in engineering?"

"Busy. We had at least five new people report to engineering within the last fifteen minutes of my shift," replied Tommy. "I love meeting new people."

"Oh, yeah?" asked Yvonne slyly. "How many of your new people were women?"

Iris stamped her foot. "Yvonne, be nice!"

On the heels of her words, the lounge's ambient noise lessened noticeably as three new officers entered. One of the them was the captain, while the other was a male commander and a female lieutenant commander. All heads turned in their direction as they entered. The trio walked to an empty table in the corner and occupied it quickly.

"Whoa," breathed Yvonne. "If the hunk is our new XO, I think I'm in love."

Iris agreed with a quiet nod, appreciating the commander's form.

Tommy sat back into his chair, folded his arms, and frowned.

---- SCENE CHANGE ----

Krystine Leone was in hell. Across from her, wearing a sweet expression she knew to be thin, was Tricia Hargreaves. "I have had the... uh, fortune... of knowing Tricia from a previous assignment," explained the captain as Jesse asked the question into their shared background.

Hargreaves feigned failing to recollect. "Oh, yes... it was aboard... which ship was that?"

"The last one you served on," Leone reminded with a grin. "Victory."

"Right," replied the lieutenant commander, through gritted teeth. "I remember now."

Jesse watched the mental tennis match between the two officers with a thin smile on his lips. "Well, I would like to get to my duties, sir," he said to Leone. "Should I check in with your acting exec, Commander Elannis?"

"That would be fine," said Leone with a nod. Her eyes never left Hargreaves, as they stared each other down. "She has the bridge, at present. Please let me know when you've caught up on our mission reports, and-"

"Oh, I've already read through them, sir. At least, the parts that have been declassified by Starfleet Intelligence," said Jesse quickly. "If you'd like, I can relieve her right now."

Leone broke off her eye contact with Hargreaves to shoot him an annoyed glance. It softened immediately as the focus of her eyes changed from someone of displeasure to someone who... wasn't. "Very well. Just... try to keep in mind that she's been handling that position with outstanding work. I would appreciate it if you would handle her accordingly."

"I'll keep that in mind, sir. By your leave?"

"Of course, Jesse."

Jesse froze momentarily at being called by his given name. Then again, he knew Leone kept an informal relationship with her officers through some of the scuttlebutt he picked up. The problem was that his reaction to it was automatically negative. "Thank you, sir," he nodded. To Hargreaves, "I'll see you later, Commander."

"Commander," Hargreaves said with a slight inclination of her head.

As soon as he left, Leone fixed her gaze on Hargreaves again. "Cut the shit, Trish. Why'd they send you?"

Hargreaves' expression turned icy, as did her tone, "I prefer to be addressed by my rank, if it's all the same to you."

"I asked you a question, Lieutenant Commander. Need I remind you of the difference in our rank?"

"Not at all, Captain. A reminder is not necessary," she replied, every word laced with her menace.

Leone folded her arms and leaned back against the padded bulkhead. "I'm waiting."

"I am an investigator with the Inspector General's office, Captain. I am the officer assigned to Starbase 310. I was ordered to conduct this investigation."

"I would think, with your history, that you might consider passing on the assignment."

"To recuse myself would be to deprive myself of giving you some payback... with eleven years' interest."

The captain lowered her voice. "You made a mistake. I corrected it."

"And in doing so, you sunk my career as a starship officer. I had to transfer to a staff assignment in order to stay in the service, and I ended up being passed over for promotion along with my classmates," hissed Hargreaves, though her tone matched Leone's. "Everyone in my class is either a captain or a commander. I'm the only one still holding a lieutenant commandership within Starfleet."

Leone narrowed her eyes. "Sometimes, things work out for the best. You were a shitty starship officer."

"Maybe so, Captain. But it's this shitty officer's hands in which your career now rests. And believe you me... you're in the deepest shit imaginable." Hargreaves shoved herself away from the table forcefully. "If I were you, I'd start packing my things. By the time this ship returns to the Starbase, I will see to it personally that you're dragged off of it in disgrace."

As she turned to leave, Leone called out, "Commander Hargreaves?"

Hargreaves turned around, wearing a self-satisfied smile. "You're going to beg me, now?"

"Not at all. I was merely going to point out that you did not request my leave before departing my presence," said Leone calmly. "As befits protocol."

The lieutenant commander's expression changed from shock to one of quiet amusement. "Fine. Enjoy it while it lasts, Captain." She nearly curtseyed as she asked, "May I have your permission to leave, now, pretty please?"

Captain Leone stepped out from behind the table to stand toe-to-toe with the woman. She smiled for the benefit of the crew looking in their direction, and issued her order through clenched teeth. "Get out of my sight, Commander."

-----------------------

As promised, some more backstory into Hargreaves' story. And Ariel's refusal to carry out the order has some consequences for her later on.

Thoughts? Comments? I'm anxious to hear what you think of this turn.

-- ZC
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Last edited by Zefram_Cochrane; March 17 2008 at 08:27 PM. Reason: spelling mistake
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Old March 17 2008, 08:23 PM   #95
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Leone should have gotten that conversation on tape. Hargreaves should be dismissed from this assignment because of her personal bias. Doesn't Starfleet watch for stuff like that when dealing with Internal Affairs?
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Old March 17 2008, 08:25 PM   #96
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

My friend, there is a purpose to everything.

-- ZC
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Old March 18 2008, 07:36 PM   #97
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Damn the Torpedoes, Part Three is now up at HopeStation.net.

Stay tuned for Act II of Milk Run.

-- ZC
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Old March 18 2008, 08:01 PM   #98
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Sorry this took a little longer to write. Work was busy for me yesterday and I was sidetracked by the newest arrival from GameFly. I am so addicted to combat flight simulators on the Xbox 360...

Anyway, here's Act II of "Milk Run."

-----------------------------------

Starfleet Lieutenant Abigail A. Atherton stepped through the airlock leading into the USS Farragut from the Starbase, along with many others looking to board for one reason or another. Since the ship departed the Antares Ship Yards with a little over a hundred of its crew, over seven hundred people awaited its arrival. She looked down the long line and idly wondered if all seven hundred were now trying to board at the same time.

"I don't think all of them are trying to get on board." The voice came from behind her, and she found it to be soft and comforting. Abigail turned and found herself face to face with another lieutenant, also draped in the peacock blue Starfleet uniform.

The other lieutenant gave her a warm smile and stared at her with large, brown eyes beneath the feathery-looking black bangs of her hair. "I'm sorry, Lieutenant. It was just difficult to stand behind you and not hear your thoughts."

"You're Betazoid?"Abigail asked the obvious.

"Kestral Otex, the new ship's counselor," replied the smiling woman. Abigail's eyes drifted down to take in the rest of her, and

she noticed that unlike most other Betazoids she'd met in her short career, this one pushed the limits of Starfleet medical regulation. Although her face was lean-looking, her body was out of shape.

She accepted the counselor's proffered hand and shook it gingerly. "Pleasure to meet you. I'm Abigail Atherton, science officer."

"But you prefer Abby, right?"

Having someone read your mind on a whim became unnerving in record time. With a wary tone, Abby replied, "Yeah."

Kestral offered a guilty expression. "Sorry, it's hard to turn it off."

"No, it's fine."

"And lying doesn't help."

Abby pressed her lips together and regarded Kestrel with a sidelong glance. "It's difficult to deal with telepaths."

"Just say what's on your mind. And I'll try to filter out the rest."

"So... are you a doctor?"

Kestral nodded. "Of Xenopsychology, yes."

Abby wondered, "Would you prefer to be called 'Doctor?'"

"If you feel more comfortable with that, sure. But my friends call me 'Kestral,'" the counselor said while she gave a wry grin. "Otherwise, 'Counselor' will do. I haven't been called 'Doctor' since I graduated from university."

"You joined Starfleet right out of the Academy?"

"Of course. It was either that or set up private practice on Betazed... or teach, I guess."

"I couldn't wait to join, either," admitted Abby. "I nearly enlisted, but my father talked me into staying in school and getting my degree so I could become an officer."

Kestral smiled wistfully. "I'm sorry," she said, reaching out to grab Abby's arm gently. "How long ago?"

"A year, now," replied Abby without thinking. "I was his youngest daughter, and he was beginning to show signs of Irumodic Syndrome..."

Kestral said nothing, but nodded her understanding of the rest of the story.

Abby recalled how her mother told her that her father opted to end of his own life, due to the onset of the debilitating disease. Rather than watch himself deteriorate in front of his family, or bring them pain, he took the family shuttle into space and removed the safeties in order to let the atmosphere leak into the vacuum. "It's been a while since I thought about it."

"If you need to talk..."

"I'll be sure to call on you," finished Abby.

The line for entry began to move a little more briskly as more people were put on the airlock to process visitors to the ship. When Abby reached the front of the line, she saw that everyone was presenting orders to one of the commissioned officers standing within the Farragut side of the airlock.

A security petty officer first class wearing her long blonde hair in a tight French braid nodded to her. "Welcome aboard, Lieutenant. Are you coming aboard to join?"

"I am," replied Abby, already digging through her personal items for the padd containing her orders.

"May I check your orders, please, sir?"

As soon as the petty officer said it, Abby found the padd and pulled it from the duffel. "Here you are."

The woman accepted it and scanned the display quickly. "Lieutenant Atherton, I have your name flagged by Commander Kincaid, the executive officer. He would like to see you as soon as possible."

"Flagged, huh?"

"Yes, sir."

"I guess I shouldn't be surprised by that. Thank you, Petty Officer...?"

"Master-at-Arms First, sir," corrected the woman. "My name is Laurence."

"Of course," replied Abby with a grin. "Thank you." Time was of the essence for the both of them. As soon as the conversation deemed over, both women immediately turned back to their duty; the petty officer to receiving the next person, and Abby to find the location of Commander Kincaid.

---- SCENE CHANGE ----

The Nebula-class multi-mission heavy cruisers exhibited different color schemes. Every ship within Starfleet made use of the full spectrum of color available to the naked eye to give each ship a sense of identity. Farragut's navy blue carpets carried the standard Starfleet taupe trim that spread out over the curved corridors of the saucer section. Unlike his previous assignment, the Ambassador-class USS Valdemar, the smooth black interface panels ran the length of the corridors in between the upper and lower portions of the bulkhead access covers.

He fought the temptation to play with the LCARS panel and continued on his way toward the turbolift. With all of the new personnel coming aboard, the wait for the turbolift seemed longer than normal. On any other day, the lift might have arrived much sooner than the minute and a half he spent standing before the doors. Once the doors parted, the lift's car presented a full house, though he managed to squeeze himself in amongst the nearly a dozen people standing inside.

"Main Bridge," he ordered, adding his destination to the queue. He could have used his new authority to override the queue and have the life take him to his destination, first. The problem with such selfishness, he decided, would be eleven sour opinions of the new executive officer spread out amongst a crew of eight hundred-fifty people. Even on a ship of this size, gossip travels faster than warp speed.

Instead, he exercised patience and smiled at the people coming off, giving the departing officers a respectful nod as they came abreast of him. He lost track of time when the doors finally parted to reveal the aft stations on the bridge. The crowd parted for him, and he gave them his thanks for doing so before stepping out and leaving them behind.

The design of the Nebula-class provided the sharing of modules with some of the other, newer classes of ship. The Galaxy-class explorer featured a bridge module similar to this one as he had personally seen aboard the starship USS Odyssey. Though, the Odyssey's colors had been a deep sea green with beige trim. Captain Keogh could be rather demanding that way.

The standard watch while in port appeared to be maintained, he noted with approval. Three people at the key consoles, with the officer of the deck within earshot in case their attention was required. What was unusual was the chief warrant officer at the tactical station. There were not a whole lot of warrant officers serving within Starfleet, as many opted to attain commissions. He decided to make himself known to that person, as warrants were highly sought-after experts in their designated fields.

As he stepped down toward the trio of command chairs in the center of the bridge, he noticed a strikingly beautiful woman seated in the center seat. Her two-piece mustard Starfleet uniform managed to obscure a majority of her curves, but not much. He doubted any garment she'd wear could hide her obvious sexuality from anyone with eyes. The two solid and one hollow pip on the right side of the neck told him that she might be the lieutenant commander he wanted.

"Commander Elannis?" he asked, standing before her.

Her heterochromatic eyes lifted up from the padd in her hands to peer into his soul. "Yes?"

He momentarily lost his mental balance as the weight of her attractiveness hit him in full force. He recovered himself as quickly as possible, managing a charming smile of his own. "I'm Commander Jesse Kincaid."

She knew that before he said; he could tell. Her eyes betrayed her recognition of his features before she returned them to her padd as he introduced himself. "I assume you're here to relieve me of my acting duties?"

Though her tone suggested joviality, it was clear she held a little resentment at his presence. Their most recent incursion might have been classified, but it was clear that Elannis bonded with the position. Remembering the captain's words, he decided to take a gentle approach. "With your approval, of course," Jesse said with a grin. "I was hoping you could bring me up to speed, first."

"I am aware that you accessed the declassified logs," she replied, rising from the captain's chair. "I'm sure you're as up to speed as you're going to get."

No fooling her, he realized. "I suppose that's true."

"Then I'm ready to be relieved, sir," she said, invoking the traditional phrase.

"I relieve you, sir," he responded in kind.

Ariel nodded. "I stand relieved. Computer," she called out, waiting for the acknowledgment sound, "note in the ship's log this Stardate, Commander Kincaid has assumed his position as executive officer."

The computer's soft feminine voice responded, "Acknowledged."

She handed over her padd. "Starbase Operations is fitting us with a tactical pod for our upcoming mission. Petra's assigned an engineering team to oversee the installation."

As he accepted the padd, Jesse recalled the data from memory. "A tactical pod gives us eight torpedo tubes and an additional six phaser banks." His eyes drifted down to the latest ship's status report.

"Yeah," she responded.

He bristled at the lack of respect in her tone. There was no 'sir' or even a 'Commander' within her phrase. Captain Leone ran an informal ship, indeed. However, as the executive officer, he would be placed in charge with the overall discipline of the crew. He wouldn't chastise her in front of the other officers, but he made a mental note to bring this up at the next meeting of the senior staff.

"All right. How long until they're finished?"

"Three hours, and then another hour for the tactical systems test."

"Four hours, give or take thirty minutes, I'm sure."

The doors to the forward turbolift opened and out came Lieutenant Abby Atherton. "I'm sorry I'm late, Commander. I had to wait ages for a turbolift that didn't already have a herd inside..." Her eyes drifted over to Ariel in surprise. "Whoa," she breathed.

Jesse's eyes lit up at the sight of the science officer. "No problem, Lieutenant. I'm glad that you made it at all." He gestured toward Ariel, "This is Lieutenant Commander Elannis, the ship's chief of operations."

"Lieutenant Atherton, sir. A pleasure to be working with you," said Abby, extending a hand.

"Likewise," replied Ariel. They shook hands briefly.

With a light blush settling on her cheeks, Abby offered a sheepish apology, "Sorry about that just then..."

The chief warrant officer at the tactical station reported, "Incoming communication from Starbase Ops, sirs."

Ariel automatically responded, "Thank you, Mister Reynolds. On screen."

The visage of the Vulcan commanding officer of Starbase 310 appeared upon the screen. The sheer size of the screen made Rear Admiral T'Cirya loom over the bridge as she gave the barest nod and greeted, "Good morning, Commanders."

"Good morning, sir," replied Jesse quickly, hoping to cut off any response from Ariel. He needed to assert himself quickly. "What can we do for you?"

"Your mission to join the starship Phoenix on patrol of the border has been rescinded until further notice," T'Cirya informed them, in what was almost a barely perceived tone of apology. "Complete the installation of the tactical pod, and stand by for a new assignment. Please, be sure to inform Captain Leone of this change in orders."

"Of course, sir," said Jesse, but he got cut off by a question from Ariel.

"Admiral, is something wrong?"

"I fear that the preliminary reports from your investigator have abbreviated any tactical assignments for the time being. I am attempting to find more information from Starfleet Command, but there is a subspace delay to contend with."

Jesse maintained his composure through his shock at the casual discussion being conducted before him. Admirals usually weren't given to entertaining questions from subordinate officers unless they were ranked captain or higher. Having a third-in-command lieutenant commander question the change in orders from such a senior officer was unheard of from his perspective. "Uh, we've taken enough of the admiral's time, Commander," he tried to end the conversation quickly.

T'Cirya stared at him. "It's all right, Commander Kincaid," she said in a colder tone. "Commander Elannis' question was valid."

He blanched at the reprisal. "I apologize, sir. I meant no offense."

Ariel again talked over him. "I let Krys know, Admiral. Would you happen to know if we'll be utilized in any fashion, or are we to be content with cooling our heels in port?"

"I will find a use for Farragut, Commander, rest assured."

"Understood, sir."

The admiral deemed the conversation completed with a simple nod. "T'Cirya, out."

"I'll go find Krys and let her know," said Ariel as she started for the turbolift.

"Commander Elannis," called Jesse quickly. When she turned to look at him, he pointed toward the observation lounge with two of his fingers. "A moment of your time, please."

--------------------------

Hopefully, a quiet day at work will help get this thing written. We haven't even gotten to the interrogation scenes yet

-- ZC
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Old March 18 2008, 08:36 PM   #99
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Heh, very nice scene with Kincaid and Ariel. Do my senses mislead me, or can we expect a Riker/Shelby-esque,"...you do an end run around me again, I'll snap you back so hard you'll think you're a first year cadet again."

This should prove highly entertaining.
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Old March 18 2008, 08:49 PM   #100
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

What's with the Adm. operating in Vulcan Casual mode? One of those "high-placed friends" of Leone's? I did get a feel of a bustling ship prepping for departure from your prose. Well done.
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Old March 18 2008, 09:24 PM   #101
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Heh, very nice scene with Kincaid and Ariel. Do my senses mislead me, or can we expect a Riker/Shelby-esque,"...you do an end run around me again, I'll yank you back so hard you'll think you're a first year cadet again."

This should prove highly entertaining.
Yeah, not quite. I mean, the sentiment's in the right place but the execution will be more to Ariel's style. No "noted for future reference, here." Please, how's a guy supposed to hang onto his authority when his eyes keep roaming over her body?

-- ZC
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Old March 18 2008, 09:25 PM   #102
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Mistral wrote: View Post
What's with the Adm. operating in Vulcan Casual mode? One of those "high-placed friends" of Leone's? I did get a feel of a bustling ship prepping for departure from your prose. Well done.
Thanks. T'Cirya's part of Leone's inner circle, yes. But not for the reasons you might think. Act III reveals that T'Cirya is Leone's former captain.

-- ZC
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Old March 18 2008, 09:58 PM   #103
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Zefram_Cochrane wrote: View Post
Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Heh, very nice scene with Kincaid and Ariel. Do my senses mislead me, or can we expect a Riker/Shelby-esque,"...you do an end run around me again, I'll yank you back so hard you'll think you're a first year cadet again."

This should prove highly entertaining.
Yeah, not quite. I mean, the sentiment's in the right place but the execution will be more to Ariel's style. No "noted for future reference, here." Please, how's a guy supposed to hang onto his authority when his eyes keep roaming over her body?

-- ZC
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Old March 18 2008, 11:31 PM   #104
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

I like this a lot so far. Hargraves is cleary on the war path with plenty of persoanl baggage to ensure this is going to be one dirty fight.

I thought the counselor was a little too intrusive with her mental probing. I wonder if that's simply her character. In any case as a counselor she proably better served with more sensitivity.

And talking about sensitvity looks like Kincaid has stepped into a well oiled machine here. I wonder how Leone and Ariel are going to deal with him.

Oh and what's with that lieutenant's reaction to Ariel?

A lot of fascinating characters you bringing together here. The most intersting thing is how they'll be working together ... or against each other.
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Old March 20 2008, 04:28 AM   #105
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Re: Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Act II is here!

--------------------------

"Please state your name, rank, position, and assignment for the log."

"Nieves, Wilson. Lieutenant. Chief of Security, USS Farragut."

Commander Hargreaves regarded the man seated across from her within the conference room allocated for her investigation. Nieves served as the chief of security on the Potemkin under then-Captain T'Cirya. Leone also served aboard Potemkin, as the executive officer. Undoubtedly, Nieves' relationship with Leone would cloud his judgment, she determined after sizing him up.

"Lieutenant," she began, "as you may or may not be aware, the Inspector General's office is investigating to determine what, if any, violations of Starfleet regulations occurred while Farragut operated within the territory of the Tristnor Hegemony."

"I understand," replied Wilson with a nod.

"I require direct answers to my questions."

"Commander, should I have counsel present?"

"These aren't formal proceedings, but if you feel counsel is warranted, you may request it and we can reconvene when your counsel has had some time to prepare," said Hargreaves. "However, it would be difficult to find counsel with high enough clearance to read the mission reports."

Nieves' expression never wavered, to her dismay. "I take your meaning, sir. I do not require counsel. Please proceed."

Hargreaves' padd came into view. Her fingers touched it to access some information. "On Stardate 43222, you were listed as being on leave. Why were you aboard Farragut?"

"I arrived at the Antares Ship Yards on Stardate 43220, along with Lieutenant Commander Ariel Elannis," answered Nieves evenly. "My purpose was to attend the change of command ceremony for Captain Leone, which I did on Stardate 43222."

"Shortly after, however, the ship was scheduled to conduct warp trials and report for duty here at Starbase 310. Why were you carried on the ship's roster as part of the senior staff rather than as a passenger?"

"As a gesture, Captain Leone asked me to stand in as the chief of security. Lieutenant Hunter, the appointed officer, was waiting here for Farragut to arrive and assume his duties."

"Which he never did."

There it was. The first crack in the hard shell. He showed a brief sign of discomfort with the question, but recovered quickly. "I regret that Lieutenant Hunter was reassigned, but with all due respect, we were competing for the same job. I do not regret wanting to be here for my colleagues, putting me in a position to usurp the position from him. All things being equal, had I been awarded this berth in the first place, I would not have waited for the ship at Starbase 310."

That answered her next question; whether or not he felt it fair. She moved on. "On Stardate 43224.75, you made contact with the first Tristnor ship. You were ordered to surrender and prepare for boarding, according to the ship's log."

"Yes, sir."

"Captain Leone instead gave the order to fire."

"Not immediately, Commander," replied Nieves with a raise of his hand. "She made several attempts to dissuade them. She stressed that our mission was one of peace. They were unconvinced and maintained their hostile position."

"You exaggerate, Lieutenant. She informed them once prior to giving the order to fire, unless Captain Leone's own recollection is false. Is that what you're telling me?"

Another crack. He sure didn't like the implication of calling his captain a liar, did he? "No, sir," he said, coldly. "I did not say anything of the sort. I respectfully submit that you're drawing your own conclusions instead of searching for fact."

She ignored his barb. "Captain Leone ordered weapons fire upon first contact with a new species, is that correct?"

"Only after they fired, first."

"Their primary weapon had already been determined as useless against Federation technology. You believe that such a fruitless attack warranted a disproportionate response?"

"Their primary weapon was useless, yes, but-"

She interrupted him, hoping to throw him off-balance. "Thank you, Lieutenant."

"With all due respect, sir, you're not allowing me to state all the facts."

Excellent. Now he adopted a defensive stance. It made it easier to dismiss his claims as biased supposition. "Proceed."

"Thank you. As I was saying, their primary weapon being sonic-based, did prove useless against a non-crystalline hull structure. However, their crystalline-based projectile weapons did carry some effectiveness against our defenses... especially with regard to the shield harmonics, coupled with the fact that we had traveled through a quantum field that played havoc with our systems."

She countered, expecting his response, "Limited effectiveness, according to the data provided by your chief engineer, Lieutenant Bartlet. Return fire would not have been necessary in order to escape the engagement zone."

"That's your opinion, sir. May I ask how many years as a starship captain you've served?"

Hargreaves failed to cover her displeasure quickly enough. She saw the pleasure in the lieutenant's eyes as he most certainly scored a direct hit. "You may not. The destruction of the Tristnor vessel did not go without notice. In your own report, a wide-band transmission detailed a kill-on-sight order from the Hegemony central command. In short, Captain Leone's actions plunged the Federation into a direct conflict with an alien race it knew very little about."

"With all due respect, Commander, Starfleet Intelligence knows everything we know."

"Which is, to say, Lieutenant, that you didn't really know much to begin with."

"Is this an investigation or a prosecution, sir?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"I'm a security officer, sir, so I've done my fair share of law enforcement," he replied.

"I do not recall asking for your service record, Lieutenant. Kindly keep your responses to answering my questions directly and refrain from offering your own speculation."

"If only you could do the same."

She narrowed her eyes. "Consider it a direct order, Lieutenant."

Wilson rose from his seat. "I have nothing more to say on this subject, Commander."

Hargreaves did the same, putting her hands flat on the table's surface and leaning forward to address him. "I'll decide when this is over. Sit down."

"If you have a problem with me, I suggest you take it up with my commanding officer." Wilson stopped short of the door and gave a parting shot, "Good luck with your investigation, Commander."

---- SCENE CHANGE ----

As soon as they entered the observation lounge, Ariel raised her hand. "Before you begin, I want to apologize for shortchanging you like that on the bridge. It won't happen again."

Taken aback by her sudden admission, Jesse stammered, "I-I... all right. I appreciate you saying that."

"T'Cirya, Krys, Wilson, and I all served together on the Potemkin. We're very familiar with one another," she explained. "I realize that might put you in a position of being on the outside looking in, and I didn't help matters any by talking over you."

"No, you didn't," he agreed, putting a hand on the back of one of the chairs as she spoke. "I know that you and Captain Leone have a long history of serving with one another, so I might be stepping into a live fire exercise, here, but my position was confirmed by the captain this morning. I intend on carrying out my duties, regardless of whether or not you have a close working relationship with the old lady."

Ariel smirked. "I dare you to call her that to her face."

It was a figure of speech used by many Starfleet officers. Referring to the captain as either the "old man" or the "old lady;" no disrespect was intended. In fact, to some it was a term of endearment under the right circumstances. In spite of the usage, he blushed at her words. "And that's another thing."

"What?"

"I don't know you. But you speak to me with such casual familiarity, I find it very disrespectful."

"I'm Ariel Elannis, you're Jesse Kincaid."

"Commander Jesse Kincaid," he emphasized his rank. "I would prefer to be addressed by my rank or title, until such time as we develop a close working relationship. Am I understood?"

"The mating call of the candy-ass," she muttered.

"Excuse me?"

"When an officer of superior rank underlines his request with 'am I understood' or some other variation, Krys calls that the 'mating call of the candy-ass.' As in a candy-assed officer."

"I know what it means," he said, letting some of his temper flare. "Am I to understand that you're referring to me as such?"

Ariel regarded him with a jaundiced eye. "Permission to speak freely?"

"I think you've already been doing that. But granted."

"I would say, then, that it remains to be seen. I've served in Starfleet for nearly twenty years, now, include four as enlisted before earning my commission at OCS. Around here, we don't have to rely on our rank to enforce authority. You may think I have contempt for you, but I think you might've forgotten the first rule of command at the Academy, Commander."

Jesse turned his head, but kept his eyes on her. "And what's that?"

She stepped in close to him, letting her scent fill his nostrils that he breathed in and felt suddenly at ease. With her voice barely above a whisper, Ariel leaned in and told him, "Attitude reflects leadership."

He took in a deep breath to steady himself before responding. "You're not making this easy for me."

She looked down, before looking back up at him. "No, I'm making this pretty hard, apparently."

"Your... heritage..." he started to say haltingly.

"Is one of my personal weapons, Commander," she finished for him. "I thought perhaps you needed a demonstration."

Jesse worked hard to regain control of his senses after the blitzkrieg-like assault. "Stand down, Commander," he ordered.

Ariel shrugged, taking a step back from him.

It allowed him a chance to recover enough to direct a bit of his frustration at being so easily manipulated by her. "Your reputation is well-earned," he spat, using the back of the chair a little more now than he did before. He realized what he said, and looked up at her. "I'm sorry. I didn’t mean it like that..."

"Yes, you did." She sighed. "I'm used to it."

He blanched at her words. Although she tried to shrug it off, it only made him feel worse to be like everyone else she might've served with that expressed a similar opinion. This was not the way he wanted her to remember him. "No, I apologize. It was completely out of line."

"Don't worry about it."

"Commander..."

"Look, I understand where you're coming from," she changed the subject. "You're the new guy, and you're joining a team with history. I'll try to help you out where I can, all right?"

The cloud of words she threw at him did little to cover him his misstep. He stood there, feeling like an absolute heel. "O-Of course. I appreciate any help you can provide me."

"Are we done?"

"Yes. Thank you."

She passed by him to exit using the opposite door, intending to bypass the bridge to get to the turbolift. Obscured from his view, he did not see the quiet smile on her lips as she left.

-----------------------------

Act III coming soon.

-- ZC
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